Hundreds of local companies participated in the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) Potential Supplier Information Sessions, held on Wednesday. Toyota, in cooperation with University of Texas San Antonio, held the events to give local companies an opportunity to learn more about its purchasing philosophies and how to do business with the firm.

In February, the car maker announced that it had chosen a 2000-acre site in San Antonio to build its sixth North American vehicle assembly plant, to manufacture the full-size Tundra pick-up.

"Our supply base is a critical extension of our manufacturing capability and play a key role in our overall vehicle quality and competitiveness. Whenever possible, we strive to use local suppliers," said Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TMMNA) purchasing general manager Gene Tabor.

"We look for suppliers who can support our five priorities: quality, competitiveness/cost reduction, delivery, lead-time reduction and service/support. Toyota values our suppliers' contribution and we work hard to build lasting relationships which are vital to our continued success."

Toyota's purchasing philosophy is based on four core principles: fair competition based on an open door policy, mutual benefit based on mutual trust, building long-term relationships, and contribution to local economies/good corporate citizenship.

During the sessions, the company also addressed Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).

"Having a diverse supply base enables us to contribute to the economic well-being of all segments of the population," said TMMNA purchasing manager Sharad Kumar.

"We recognise that partnering with suppliers who provide a diversity of ideas - in addition to delivering manufacturing support, goods and services - creates a significant competitive advantage for Toyota."

Wednesday's information sessions focused on parts, materials, goods and services potential suppliers. A second information session for companies interested in working on the construction of the plant will be held later this year.

TMMTX will build approximately 150,000 Tundra full size trucks annually, beginning in 2006. Production at the San Antonio plant will supplement the Tundra production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., which is currently the exclusive manufacturer of this model.

The new plant will represent a $US800 million investment by Toyota and is expected to bring approximately 2,000 new jobs to Texas and indirectly create work for many more. Operations at the plant will include stamping, body weld, plastics, paint, and assembly.